The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) and the Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre (SDAC) recently signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on a new Chinese production of Henry V in 2016, premiering at the Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre in November 2016.
The production will be based on the RSC’s new theatrically-viable Chinese translation of Shakespeare’s Henry V, currently in development, a process which started in the Company’s rehearsal rooms this summer. Acclaimed playwright and SDAC Artistic Director, Nick Yu, is leading the pilot project with RSC Artistic Director, Gregory Doran, and Professor Zhang Chong, to translate the text into an actor-friendly version, accessible for contemporary audiences. It will be the first project in the RSC’s initiative to translate all Shakespeare’s plays in the First Folio into Chinese. A parallel project will see translations of Chinese classics into English.
RSC Associate Director, Owen Horsley, will direct the Chinese production of Henry V and an RSC creative team, led by Owen, will work with SDAC colleagues to stage it in Shanghai. It is intended to be the first time in China that a Chinese theatre company will demonstrate the RSC’s approach to staging Shakespeare. The collaboration will bring Shakespeare’s work to a new audience in his 400th anniversary year.
Gregory Doran, RSC Artistic Director, said: “We are delighted to be working with Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre on their new production of Henry V, based on a translation developed in the heart of our rehearsal rooms. We learn so much about one another’s culture through sharing the stories we tell. This will be a fantastic opportunity for Chinese artists and theatre makers and the RSC’s theatre makers and technical teams to work together to share skills and experiences, and build a new understanding of theatre in both cultures.”
Nick Yu, Artistic Director, SDAC, said: “We are so pleased to be bringing Shakespeare to new audiences and connecting theatre practitioners, writers and educators in both countries. Through collaboration, we will all gain a deeper understanding of each other’s culture, traditions, society and increase knowledge of industry practices.”